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Mission: Impossible II (2000) Poster

Trivia

In early 2000, there was a 163 minutes long workprint of the film available in some bootleg circles, sourced from stolen VHS copy. It was much closer to John Woo's original three and a half hours long cut of the film, and it had lot of extended and deleted scenes, including the uncut action and violence which was cut from the final film for PG-13 rating. However, ever since then, no copy of the workprint has been found.
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Jump to: Director Trademark (3)  | Spoilers (11)
Director John Woo's first cut of this movie clocked in at three and a half hours. Paramount Pictures balked at this length, and told him that the final length could not exceed two hours. This would explain why there are so many plot holes and continuity errors in the theatrical cut.
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The famous rock climbing sequence was filmed at Dead Horse Point in Utah. Tom Cruise was on cables which were then digitally removed. Ron Kauk was the climbing double and the overhang stunt was performed by main stunt double, Keith Campbell. Director John Woo was so scared each time but "Tom insisted on doing it".
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Tom Cruise and John Woo clashed over some of the stunts as Woo wanted stunt doubles, and Cruise was adamant about doing them. He told Woo he didn't like "cheating" and that it's too easy to spot when the actor is being doubled because of body movement, timing, et cetera. It didn't help that Woo is afraid of heights. Woo admired Cruise's courage.
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Tom Cruise's then-wife Nicole Kidman suggested Thandiwe Newton (Kidman's co-star in Flirting (1991)) as the love interest for Ethan Hunt. She was cast before the script was written.
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Luther Stickell's (Ving Rhames') line "It's that simple, huh?" after hearing Ethan Hunt's explanation of what he thinks "Chimera" is was a joke about Mission: Impossible (1996), which was widely criticized for having an "overly complicated" plot.
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Tom Cruise rode the motorcycle through the fire without the use of flame protection gear or gel.
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Sean Ambrose's (Dougray Scott) waterfront house on Sydney Harbour is not a real house. It was located at Bradley's Head, and was made of polystyrene, and demolished after the shoot.
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This was the highest grossing movie of 2000.
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Dougray Scott (Ambrose) was going to play Logan/Wolverine in X-Men (2000). When filming went over schedule and he was injured in a motorbike accident, he was forced to drop out and was replaced by Hugh Jackman.
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Tom Cruise lied to the movie's insurance agents, saying that he would be letting the stunt crew handle all the major action setpieces. In reality, Cruise did about 95% of his own stunts.
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The movie initially was rated R, but was re-rated PG-13 after many action scenes were cut, and the violence was trimmed down considerably.
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Production was heavily delayed because Tom Cruise was shooting Eyes Wide Shut (1999) with Stanley Kubrick for over a year. It was slated to begin filming in mid-1997, but in the end it would be filmed in 1999, as Cruise spent the entirety of 1997 and a chunk of 1998 working on Eyes Wide Shut, which was originally intended to be filmed over 6 months beginning in November 1996.
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This is the first movie for which Metallica ever agreed to write a song.
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Because of his huge back-end deals, Tom Cruise was forced to pay for the production overruns out of his own pocket.
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While filming in Sydney, Australian newspapers falsely reported that Tom Cruise was acting like a high-maintenance diva by sending out a memo to extras and bit part players telling them not to look him in the eye. This was incorrect. Actors in the horse track sequence were instructed not to look or make eye contact with Cruise during filming, because in several dailies shots, extras (who were star struck) were looking straight at him and pointing, destroying the shot.
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Because of the production overrunning significantly, Thandiwe Newton was forced to drop out of Charlie's Angels (2000).
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John Woo found himself locked out of the editing room by Tom Cruise who took ownership of the final cut.
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John Woo was making a Nike commercial in Brazil when he received a call from Tom Cruise asking to meet about directing this movie.
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Each director in the franchise has been asked to return for the sequel to their movies, all except for John Woo.
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According to Robert Towne, much of his script was written around action scenes that John Woo told him he wanted to be able to direct in the movie.
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With his percentage deal on profits, royalties, and merchandise, it is said that Tom Cruise was paid the unprecedented sum of $75 million for his work on this movie.
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The part of Mission Commander Swanbeck was originally offered to Sir Ian McKellen. He was not able to accept the role, due to a prior theatre engagement in London and the part eventually went to Sir Anthony Hopkins. McKellen's agent was stunned when he turned down a small supporting role. Had he accepted it, the costly overruns would have prevented him from playing Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and like Dougray Scott, he would also have missed out on X-Men (2000).
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The song "I Disappear" by Metallica is on the soundtrack for this movie, and an early unfinished version of the song was leaked on Napster, starting the infamous "Metallica vs Napster" court case.
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Andrew Lesnie was the original cinematographer. He left less than a month into shooting due to "stylistic differences" with director John Woo.
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Tom Cruise offered Brian De Palma the chance to direct this movie, but De Palma declined.
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John Woo was concerned about competing with Brian De Palma's style, but Tom Cruise was very adamant that he wanted Woo's style for this movie, as he loved Woo's style. Cruise's goal was to have each movie, each "episode", be a different style from a different director. This made Woo feel relaxed.
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Shipped to theaters under the fictitious name "Doll House" to deter potential thieves.
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John Woo used flying pigeons in this movie to make some scenes look more intense as the main character goes into action, the same way he did for Nicolas Cage's character in Face/Off (1997).
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Thandiwe Newton (Nyah Hall) was unfamiliar with driving on the right side of the road, so they hid a stunt coordinator in the passenger seat with access to the car's parking brake.
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Mission Commander Swanbeck (Sir Anthony Hopkins) becomes the first person in any Mission: Impossible episode or movie to actually use the phrase "mission: impossible". Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga also wrote the screenplay for Star Trek: First Contact (1996), which featured the first cinematic use in dialogue of the phrase "star trek".
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Tom Cruise personally contributed the scene in which Ethan and Nyah catch each other's eyes across the room from each other through the flamenco dance, stating that he always wanted to perform a simple boy meets girl sequence.
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John Woo likes to create theme music with his composer in advance of production as it works as inspiration while working. Their time in Spain led he and Hans Zimmer to incorporate the guitar into more of the music.
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SERIES TRADEMARK: At Hunt's meeting with Mission Commander Swanbeck (Sir Anthony Hopkins), Hunt is offered an espresso or cappuccino. At the preliminary meeting with Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible (1996), Hunt asked if they could get a cappuccino machine.
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The script originally featured Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Hall (Thandiwe Newton) hashing out their new relationship via a conversation in a room, but director John Woo thought it was too boring and opted instead for a phone call during a car chase.
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Producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner wanted this movie to have more action, because Mission: Impossible (1996) lacked action.
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The film was to be editor Tony Ciccone's big break as a studio co-editor. Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident he had a year into production prevented him from finishing this movie. He was given the lesser credit of Additional Editor. After the accident, it took almost a year of physical therapy for him to regain full use of his hands.
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SERIES TRADEMARK: Ethan is suspended by a cable while infiltrating the Biocyte Labs.
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The car chase between Ethan (Tom Cruise) and Nyah (Thandiwe Newton) was influenced by a car chase in another spy movie, GoldenEye (1995), where James Bond raced Xenia Onatopp across the French countryside.
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Oliver Stone was the first director attached to this movie in the period after Mission: Impossible (1996)'s release. He reportedly wrote a treatment, but backed out, due to scheduling conflicts resulting from Tom Cruise's prolonged stint on Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
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A brief shot of children playing "Ring Around the Roses" is shown. This is a subtle reference to the plague that would ensue should the Chimera virus be released onto the world. According to popular belief, "Ring Around the Roses" was a kids' song based on the medieval Black Plague. In this theory, the "ring around the roses" represented a ring of people around a grave with roses on it. "Pocket full of posies" refers to people carrying flowers in their pockets during the plague, to combat the stench of the corpses in the streets. "Ashes, ashes" refers to the mass burnings of bodies. "We all fall down" refers to the multitudes of people dying. In fact, the rhyme dates from Victorian times, and originally did not contain these specific references, which were created in improvisational children's playing. Nevertheless, the legend connecting the song with the plague persists making it a subtextual point.
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Director John Woo clashed with original cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, when Woo felt Lesnie was unable to keep up with his shooting style of multiple cameras and shots. Lesnie was eventually replaced.
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Tom Cruise offered the director's gig to John Woo after seeing Face/Off (1997).
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This movie marks the first appearance of Ethan Hunt's 'Dimitri' alias, which he uses again in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) while imprisoned in Moscow. In Mission: Impossible (1996) the IM team coerces a man into giving up the name of a contact: Dimitri Miediev. Given the wide range of names available to the writers and the unlikelihood of randomly using the same name in the sequel without a specific reason, it can be assumed that Dimitri Miediev is replaced by Ethan Hunt, who then continues to use that name as a cover.
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Went over 40 days over schedule, largely because of unprecedented rainfall in Australia.
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Tom Cruise and John Woo debated multiple countries as the locale for their "love story" including Italy, Russia, and Malaysia, but ultimately decided on Spain. Woo admitted that he was crazy about the flamenco dance.
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Steve Zahn was originally cast as Billy Baird.
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Stuart Baird did uncredited re-editing work on this movie and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) for Paramount Pictures in order to get the job of directing Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
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"Iko-Iko", the song playing during the rock climbing scene, is also prominently featured in Tom Cruise's earlier movie Rain Man (1988). However, the version of the song in this movie is called "Iko Iko (Suca Mama)" by Zap Mama, the lyrics are different than "Iko Iko" by The Belle Stars in Rain Man (1988), and does not appear on the commercially available soundtrack.
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Although Richard Roxburgh is Australian, his character Hugh Stamp is South African.
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Triumph Motorcycles supplied the Speed Triple and Daytona models used as Tom Cruise and Dougray Scott's rides, respectively.
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The sunglasses that Tom Cruise wears at the climax of the climbing scene providing him with his mission brief are modified Oakley Romeos that are now discontinued. They were modified for their appearance in this movie in three ways: the ear stems are different (the commercially available model had curved ear stems, while the movie version has straight stems), the lenses used in this movie aren't mirrored (to prevent the movie crew being seen in the reflection) and the most obvious modification being the earpieces grafted on to the frames.
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The only film in the series which Ethan Hunt doesn't go on the run and goes on a mission.
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Tom Cruise shared with director John Woo his love of Bruce Lee, so Woo used that as inspiration for designing the end fight between Hunt and Ambrose.
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(At around thirty seconds) The building captioned as "Biocyte Pharmaceuticals" is really the Governor Phillip Tower, in Sydney, Australia.
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William Mapother (Wallis) is the cousin of Tom Cruise. Cruise's real name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.
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Tom Cruise's opening rockface stunt was done for real. Cruise insisted on doing the stunt seven times while John Woo was too nervous to watch him do it.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins' only appearance in the franchise as Mission Commander Swanbeck.
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John Woo's first PG-13 film.
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John Woo uses two common elements in this movie and Face/Off (1997), pigeons in the scene preceding the final battle, and the final battle ending on a beach.
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The highest grossing film in the series until Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011).
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All of the security guards working on-location for site security were off duty firefighters from the New South Wales Fire Brigades. They worked closely with Noel McMaster, Tom Cruise's bodyguard when in Australia.
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John Woo's biggest grossing film.
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Tom Cruise and John Woo attended a test screening of this movie in Warrenville, Illinois.
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In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail, eventually killed by the hero Bellerophon, hence the name of the virus and its antidote.
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The theatrical trailer shows three extended scenes which are not in the movie; Ethan (Tom Cruise) saying "Welcome to Australia, mate" to Luther (Ving Rhames ) when they first meet, extra lines of dialogue by Swanbeck (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in the ending, where he says to Ethan "Well, Mr. Hunt. I don't quite know where to begin", and Ethan charging at Sean (Dougray Scott) and two of them falling off the cliff. Originally, this clip happened right after they crash their bikes and before their fight on the beach. The "Making of" documentary, where stunts from the movie are discussed, also shows some behind-the-scenes footage from filming of this scene and a couple of shots from it; the motorbike flying towards the camera, which was buried in the ground, Ethan and Sean lying on ground after crashing into each other when the other crashed motorbike explodes, and Ethan running towards Sean.
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William Goldman wrote a script that was never used.
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During the opening sequence, Tom Cruise, who performed the sequence himself, almost fell to his death, saving himself by grabbing onto the camera. John Woo was extremely nervous about Cruise doing the sequence, fearing he would be held responsible if he had fallen; Cruise assured the director that it was going to be alright.
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Anthony Hopkins was originally just supposed to do 2 days filming but due to lighting difficulties on set, he ended up doing 5.
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WILHELM SCREAM: When Luther blows up the car on the bridge from the helicopter.
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Ethan Hunt climbing up a mountain during the opening credits was influenced by another movie from Paramount Pictures, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). In that movie, Captain James T. Kirk is seen climbing up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park during the opening credits. Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore wrote for the Star Trek film franchise, though not that movie.
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Screenwriters Michael Tolkin, Joe Eszterhas, and Wesley Strick wrote and re-wrote the script before the assignment was passed to Robert Towne. According to Towne, the script was in shape about five days before shooting began in Australia. However, the fixes didn't stop there. Once filming was underway, Towne was flown in to continue reworking the script, a process that resumed when this movie was in the editing room, and finished two weeks before the movie was released.
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Some scenes of Birthday Girl (2001) were filmed in Sydney, Australia so that Nicole Kidman could be close to her children, and her then-husband Tom Cruise, who was filming this movie in Sydney at the same time. Birthday Girl (2001) is supposed to be set in England.
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The opening plane crash was originally meant to cut right into the fuse being lit followed by the same credits sequence as the first, but Tom Cruise didn't feel it was exciting enough, so he suggested they cut to the rock-climbing instead.
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Was the top-grossing film of 2000, taking $ 565,4 million worldwide. The second one was Universal's The Gladiator, was some way behind with $446,7 million worldwide.
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John Woo wanted this movie to have a human element, as opposed to being all about action and stunts, and when the script came in with the love triangle, he knew it was what he wanted.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins and Thandiwe Newton appeared on Westworld (2016).
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Hollywood cliché #202: sustained, heavy gunfire never affects a character's hearing.
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When Ethan is briefed about Nyah inside his sunglasses at the beginning, she is referred to as "Nyah Nordoff Hall". Nordhoff Hall is a building on the California State University Northridge campus that is home to C.S.U.N.'s theatre department.
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Tom Cruise liked cold bananas on set.
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Hollywood cliché #073: buildings should always have large amounts of explosive materials in storage. Just because.
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The poster art features an image of Ethan Hunt visibly scarred from a knife wound to his cheek, wearing a leather jacket, and drawing a pistol with his left hand from a shoulder holster on his right side. However, in this movie, Ethan does not receive the scar until after he has removed his jacket.
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The sunglasses Tom Cruise wears in the motorcycle chase are Oakley Fives. They are black frames with gray lenses. The Oakleys were painted black, whereas commercial models were white or silver in color. Along with the Romeos featured at the beginning of this movie, this is the only Mission: Impossible movie to feature two pairs of glasses from Oakley, Inc.
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An interesting coincidence is Newton's character name Nyah Nordoff Hall: Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall wrote The Bounty Trilogy, relating events prior to, during and subsequent to the Mutiny on the Bounty, published between 1932 and 1934. Both authors flew with France and the US in World War I.
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The name of the virus, "Chimera", is also the title to a novel (2011) by Norwegian Gert Nygaardshaug. In this novel, Chimera is a deadly virus.
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John O'Hare was considered for the role of Sean Ambrose.
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The first trailer to this movie was released in November 1999 and was later shown before Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998).
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Alison Araya's debut.
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Tom cruise and Thandiwe Newton both star in interview with a vampire
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Now Playing Podcast reviewed Mission: Impossible II. This film received one "recommend" and two "not recommends".
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Director Trademark 

John Woo: [guns] Ethan Hunt uses a gun in each hand.
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John Woo: [Doves]
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John Woo: [slow motion]
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

For the "knife-in-the-eye" scene, Tom Cruise insisted that a real knife be used, and that it stop exactly one quarter-inch from his eyeball, instead of somewhere vaguely near his eye, as director John Woo suggested. The knife was connected to a cable that was measured carefully in order to achieve the effect, and Cruise insisted that Dougray Scott use all of his strength in the ensuing struggle.
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The scene where Tom Cruise "peels off his face" to reveal Dougray Scott was achieved in one shot by shooting both actors against a greenscreen. Cruise, not wearing a mask, was simply told to place his hand in a pre-arranged position under his chin then pull his hand across his face. Scott wore a plain mask with sensors that could provide a computer with a three-dimensional view of his face. He then peeled off this mask to finish the scene. Cruise's face was superimposed on the mask as it is pulled away and the two images morphed together in the computer; the background of the 747 cabin was added in to replace the greenscreen. (Watch the scene with frame advance and you will see a slight transitional "swirl" on the mask halfway through the scene). Kevin Yagher contributed some more traditional latex mask effects for other face-peeling scenes.
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This installment features the highest amount of mask wearing in any Mission: Impossible movie. Ambrose (Dougray Scott) wears an Ethan mask twice, Stamp (Richard Roxburgh) wears an Ethan mask, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) wears both a Stamp mask and a Nekhorvich (Rade Serbedzija) mask.
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As of 2018, this is the only Mission: Impossible movie where Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is actually working for the I.M.F. and not on the run, working outside I.M.F., and/or disavowed. In Mission: Impossible (1996), Ethan is believed to be a mole, and is disavowed. In Mission: Impossible III (2006), Ethan is eventually on the run from the I.M.F. after he is believed to be an enemy. In Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), the I.M.F. is shut down. In Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015), the I.M.F. is disbanded, and Ethan is considered a rogue Agent. In Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018), Ethan and his team are chased by the C.I.A. after the agency's assassin Walker turns on them, so the C.I.A. disavows the I.M.F. suspecting them as traitors and believing the I.M.F. is obsolete.
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Thandiwe Newton decided not to return for Mission: Impossible III (2006) to focus on her family. If Nyah had returned for it, it's most likely that Nyah would have become a member of the I.M.F. team.
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"Mission: Impossible 2" has the same basic plot as Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1946 Notorious (1946). Agent recruits woman in trouble (Ingrid Bergman in Notorious, Thandiwe Newton in MI2) to get involved with bad guys with dangerous weapons (uranium in Notorious, bio-weapon in MI2). The agent (Cary Grant in Notorious, Tom Cruise in MI2) falls in love with the woman. At the end, the bad guys (Claude Rains in Notorious, Dougray Scott in MI2) find out about the woman and poison her. Agent rescues the woman at the last minute. However, the villain's faithful right-hand man warning him of the woman being a mole, is similar to the plot of North by Northwest (1959), which was also directed by Sir Alfred Hitchcock, and also starred Cary Grant.
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The music track in the scene, in which Nyah picks up the injection gun and injects herself with the Chimera virus, was influenced by Metal Gear Solid (1998).
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When Ethan Hunt is shot in the leg by Sean Ambrose and mumbles, it is obvious that it is not Tom Cruise mumbling, but Richard Roxburgh, which was added in post-production, and hints that it is not the real Ethan Hunt, but Hugh Stamp disguised as Ethan Hunt.
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Thandie Newton declined to return for the 3rd movie and was replaced by Michelle Monaghan as Ethan Hunt's new love interest Julia Meade. If Thandie Newton had returned for M:I-3, Nyah Nodoff-Hall would become a IMF agent and a member of Ethan Hunt's team.
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The scene in which Ethan dives through the hole in the wall (when he says to Nyah "Just stay alive! I am not going to lose you!!!") in the Biocyte lab gunfight, mirrored a similar scene from The Last of the Mohicans (1992) starring Daniel Day-Lewis, in which Hawkeye (Lewis) tells Cora (Madeleine Stowe) "Just stay alive! I will find you!" and jumps down a waterfall.
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The knife used in the fight scene at the end is a Kershaw Amphibian.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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